Syrian artist Sara Naim partners with Clinique La Prairie for Art Dubai

The Swiss wellness centre commissioned the artwork with the theme of longevity

A handout photo of Sara Naim (Sara Naim / The Third Line, Dubai) *** Local Caption ***  al07ap-art-naim02.JPG
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Swiss wellness centre Clinique La Prairie has once again returned to host the Longevity Lounge at Art Dubai.

Conceived as space to rest, restore and recharge, the lounge offers healthy snacks at the Detox Bar and nutritional advice at the Holistic Health bar. It also offers massages in the Luxury Experience Room, given by therapists from the newly launched Dubai Longevity Hub, inside the recently opened One&Only One Za’abeel hotel in Dubai.

In keeping with the ethos of creativity at Art Dubai, however, Clinique La Prairie has commissioned an artwork around the theme of longevity by the Syrian multidisciplinary artist Sara Naim.

Living between Dubai and London, Naim's work deals with the concept of boundaries as points of connection.

"My practice is really interested in perception and its ability to shift through polarity. Within that, I've explored sea to landscape, ideal and real, and now birth and death through the materialisation of sunrise and sunset itself," she tells The National.

The site specific work Naim created is – as with many of her pieces – deceptively simple. A free-standing sculpture, it comprises a tall board held upright by sacks on the floor. A closer look reveals a multitude of materials and techniques including aluminium, epoxy resin, digital print and digital photography.

The board has an amorphous, rounded outline and is painted sea green. On it are five horizontal lines with semi-circles that seem to denote different phases of a setting or rising sun. Surrounding these are suggestions of images, that could be bubbles on the surface of the sea, light reflected in water, or even, perhaps, the sun itself. “You're not really sure if you're looking at the water, or the landscape, inside or outside,” Naim explains.

Naim's latest piece uses abstract imagery and deliberately oblique references to force the viewer into a new way of looking. “I have used minimalism as a way to simplify representation because I believe that that's a default setting in which we see. I would define [this work] as sculptural photography," she says.

The space around the free-standing artwork encourages the viewer to move around it, and observe it from multiple angles. “It's very four-dimensional because you have to operate around it. It was really important for me to have a front and back, although the image at the front and the back are mirroring one another. They are completely identical," she says.

The bags on the floor, she explains, are also printed with elements of the imagery, now heavily pixelated, thanks to magnification.

“I often use microscopy as a way to play with the dialectic of scale, as when you zoom in you expect that you understand something more clearly, but actually you sometimes get pushed into abstraction.”

The use of digital prints only emphasises this. “You get furthered by this kind of digitisation or glitch or pixelation. You kind of have a moving in and moving out."

While this is Naim's first time collaborating with Clinique La Prairie, it is not her first time at Art Dubai – she has exhibited her work across several seasons with the gallery The Third Line. On how this particular commission came about, she explains it was a simple process. "Clinique La Prairie approached Art Dubai, and Art Dubai then contacted me, I didn't apply for it."

Creating the work was equally straightforward, she says, with Clinique La Prairie careful to respect her integrity as an artist, never dictating what the final result should be. “They were very open and accommodating, and not limiting with what I was interested in or trying to say or trying to do, which was great.”

"Clinique La Prairie was so open, only telling me to play with wellness and longevity. I work with aspects of time, and deconstructing the notion of time, which for me is connected with longevity because I don't believe that there's a beginning, middle or end.”

Art Dubai 2024 takes place at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, from Friday to Sunday. More information is available at

Updated: March 02, 2024, 4:02 AM